Garden Contaminated – Is it Safe to Eat?
I have a question regarding the safety of eating food that might be contaminated by chemical lawn fertilizer and herbicide. My husband asked Trugreen to come out and apply organic/natural fertilizer (Chicken poop) and spot spray the weeds in the front and sides of our yard only. Unfortunately, they didn't do what he asked. They sprayed the entire yard with urea and chemical herbicides. I have garlic and herbs planted near the patio, down hill and very close to where they sprayed. They also sprayed (directly) areas where I was going to plant other herbs and vegetables. We have a garden in the back, which is uphill and supposedly they don't spray close to gardens. My question is this: Do you think it's safe to eat the garlic and herbs (if they don't die), and would it be safe to eat food planted in the areas which were sprayed? Should the soil be tested for safety? I'm so disappointed (and angry) about the whole thing and I'm not sure what to do. Any guidance would be appreciated.
Certified GKH Gardening Expert
It is very frustrating when lawn services do not listen. I am sorry this happened to you. That being said, chemicals used to treat lawns mostly break down in about a week, so they become technically safe to eat after that. You can wait 2 weeks to be on the safe side and make sure to wash them before eating them. As they only got 1 treatment, they are still healthier than the vegetables at the store, as those are treated multiple times over the course of a growing season. The soil will also be fine in 1-2 weeks and will not have any lasting effects on plants planted there at a later date. You may want to check locally for an organic only lawn care service. They use only organic methods and are mostly a comparable price to the national brands. They are becoming increasingly popular and are found in many areas. That way, you will not have to worry about them accidentally forgetting your request for organic care since that is the only care they give.